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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shrooms and squirrels

I went back to the Ridgewood Reservoir on Sunday to retrieve my camera. The Birdcam doesn't have an LCD to view images, just a small set-up screen to access menus. It also has a counter, so you can tell immediately if it has taken any photos. The feeling of anticipation that I experience when I see numbers ticked off on the display reminds me of the days when I used a film camera. I couldn't wait to pick up my photos to see what I shot. In this case, I can't wait to get home and plug the camera into my computer.

There were nine images on the camera and I'll get right to the point - damned squirrels! My strategy must be completely stupid as I have yet to photograph anything other than squirrels. Obviously, my choice of camera placement stinks. Birds need food, shelter and water. I could buy some seeds and toss them around in front of the camera, but I feel like that would be cheating. It occurred to me that all birds need water to drink and bathe, so that will be my next target. I'll pick out a spot at the edge of the water where it is shallow enough for most birds to bathe. Maybe I should put the camera inside of a fake Red-tailed Hawk to keep the squirrel away.

There wasn't a lot of bird activity at the reservoir but we did manage to add two more species to the year list - American Coot and Fox Sparrow. While scanning a flock of Ruddy Ducks on the lake within the center basin, I spotted a huge Cooper's Hawk flying from north to south across the water. The blue-gray raptor made a diving pass at a Ruddy Duck that was a distance away from the flock. Could an accipiter actually pull itself out of a lake while holding onto its prey? I could see eagles or Osprey with their long powerful wings doing it, but a Cooper's Hawk? Maybe she was just playing.

There were daisy fleabane flowers still in bloom around the reservoir. Some of the flowers looked like they were sprouting new buds. In the bog, there were some fresh mushrooms that I had never before seen and am still trying to identify. I've been learning that some species of mushrooms require a spore print to make identification possible. I'll post an update if I figure out what they are.

I've asked a friend who works for the Prospect Park if I could get permission to place the Birdcam within a protected area in park. If I can set it up tomorrow, I'll pick it up after Thanksgiving.

by Rob Jett for "The City Birder"

1 comment:

Marie said...

Gorgeous mushroom pics. Would love an update when you ID them...Spore-printing is fun.

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